Record Of The Week # 122

Emily Scott Robinson – American Siren

Robinson’s back story is one of a talented multi instrumentalist and singer who’s moved from North Carolina to Colorado. Here she was employed in social services whilst playing and further studying song writing. Eventually her breaks came and this is her second album, and her first, on a major label, it’s a joy. It’d be enough to talk about her voice: pure, crystal clear and mellifluous. However there’s considerable craft in her song writing and lyrics. She writes stories about classic country music themes such as cheating, missteps, unfilled ambitions and the military and it’s saddest days. She’s sympathetic and never judging but profound and engaging.

Jason Richmond produces (The Avett Brothers and The Steep Canyon Rangers), he ensures the mainly stripped back country arrangements are empathetic throughout. The backing to this divine voice varies between acoustic, electric and atmospheric. Richmond complements the songs with percussion, organ, bass lines, dabbles of electric guitar or sweeping runs of fiddle. “Let ‘Em Burn” is just Robinson on piano singing a delicate ballad. She says it’s “for anyone who thinks they’ve built a cage  they’ve learned to hate and wondering if they have the courage to ask for what they really want.” A sad but captivating listen.

“Every Day In Faith” is haunting and heartfelt, a hymn to seeing it through. Writing “Things You Learn The Hard Way” was novel. Robinson says she found the song title and chorus and then had to find the verses. In this case it was a list of things you learn the hard way (obvs). A bit stumped she asked her followers on Facebook and the illustrations tumbled in. From this assortment she selected the ones she liked most along with her own mistakes such as not avoiding talking politics with her grandfather! 

“Cheap Seats” was inspired by her visiting the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville  and watching John Prine and Bonnie Raitt in 2019. At this time she was building her career and the benchmark for her ambition was set right in front of her: “I’m in the cheap seats / Watching the big show / Hoping that one day I’ll look back and know / That every big dream / And every hard prayer / And every long road /Would deliver me up there.” 

Robinson follows in a long line of country singer songwriters. She has the songs and voice to be amongst the best. This could be the next step in an important career.

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